AUSTRALIA 2003

2003-02-20, Settling In

20th Feb - 7th March 2002

Well folks, it's time for Abdou's 5th annual Oz Tour. Danny P has put lot of work into the preparation for this tour and has culminated in the biggest one yet. So I think a big round of applause is warranted.

The security at Heathrow and the other airports was heightened and thing took a bit longer, but we didn't mind, it made us feel a little safer knowing that we weren't going to be stabbed by a pair of nail clippers.

Rich and I had a fairly uneventful journey from the UK, apart from a 'lost' 24 hours in Singapore, involving beers, Karaoke, more beers, pubs, clubs, taxis and mini bars.

We spent our first week in Melbourne getting over jet-lag catching up with old and new friends, it was a good way to slip ourselves into something a bit more comfortable and prepare ourselves for what will be a bit of a mad tour

The following week was taken up with band practice and visits to the Grand Prix and culminated in our first gig at Weekender the 9th Ward and also a very exciting Grand Prix the day after.



2003-03-08, Melbourne - Weekender @ 9th Ward



Rehearsals had gone very well and we were pretty confident of a trouble free gig. We played the 9th Ward last year, suffering from mystery ailments and jet-lag, but this year we are fully rested and ready to take on the World. This year's Abdou sees yet another change of line-up. The 2003 model features Mirko on drums who has come all the way down from brisbane to join the gang.

The gig is a part of a regular indie night hosted by Steve and Dave, long standing friends and supporters of the Abdou cause.

Soundcheck was a breeze, although Rich couldn't participate as he was off on an errand.

Not to worry though, he was back in time for the gig and we sounded pretty awesome I reckon. We even managed to play 'Let Bogans Be Bogans' for the first time in the land that the song was written for. New song 'It's About The Oil George' went down pretty well too.The very pretty audience seemed to appreciate the noise and most of them came up to me afterwards and congratulated us all on a job well done, which made us glow with pride.

My work wasn't done after the band as I was due to take another spin on the CD decks in my role as indie DJ. I was slightly nervous about the whole thing as Steve (the pro DJ) has already played half of the stuff that I was intending to play. It did give me the opportunity to dig out some slightly more obscure stuff though, which actually made things interesting.

After my DJ set, I relaxed into some serious drinking and ended up asleep in the dressing room along with Rich. I must stress though that it was purely platonic and nothing 'happened'.

Don't remember the trip home, I guess I must have travelled by Beer Scooter.



2003-03-14, Sydney - Vic On The Park

We had a big night out in Surrey Hills with Danny, Sarah, Craig and other mates. Went to see a band called The Camels at The Houpton who were shit hot., Got pretty smashed and then went to our new friend Justin's house for Port and other varieties of strange booze. I fell asleep on the sofa as usual.

Consequently we greeted Friday morning in a slightly hazy way. Sarah made scrambled eggs and that made us all feel better. Later on Rich and Sarah went off the beach to catch some waves. I stayed in, working on the future UK tour and caught up with some email. Also took the oportunity to recharge the batteries and wipe out the remaining hangover with an afternoon snooze. Rock n Roll or what!!

It wasn't long before it was time to load up the Tarago and head into town for the gig. Decided it wasn't worth having a soundcheck and elected instead to grab sometihng to eat at the Thai restaurant next door to the venue.

Whilst we were eating we unfortunately missed most of vehicle, tonight's opening band. Chatting to the boys from the band later they said they had grief with the sound and that was to be repeated a few times by the following acts. Apparently it was the venue soundman's first night and to be honest it showed.

I missed The Fangs but Danny caught their set and said they were great. The Thai food was delicious by the way.

The Tommy Flowers were up next. General consensus is that they weren't very good, i was too deep in conversation with my mates to really comment. Phew, got away with that one ;-)

It was our turn next and also time for the electricity to start playing up. It turned out that the kettle lead for my amp was the culprit. Must get a new one.

We started late and had to rush through the set. We played really well and the onstage sound was pretty good. Unfortunately it wasn't that good out front and most people agreed that the soundman was a bit of an idiot. He was a nice bloke but didn't seem to know what he was doing.

Top sausage geezer Chris helped out by manning the merch stall and once gain, we did good business on the CDs and shirts. I only wish that Sydney could hear Abdou as we should sound, I always feel that we let people down even though this time is wasn't our fault.

All in all it wasn't a bad gig though, we played cracking versions of It's About The Oil and Bogans and there were lots of smiling faces at the front.

After the gig we all headed to a great pub called the Town Hall in Newtown and lost our legs amidst a sea of booze.

Woke up 5am on another sofa.



2003-03-15, Newcastle - Northern Star

Had a cruisey day, getting up dead late, grabbing some late brekkie at a local cafe and struggling to feel normal again.

It's not a mammoth drive from Sydney to Newcastle so we left around 3 ish and was in town in time for leisurely coffee and a necessary evacuation at a lovely cafe in the suburb of Hamilton, where tonight's gig was to be. The actual gig was quite heavily disguised as an Irish Theme pub with all of the tat that goes with those fake Irish chains.

The Muzzy Pep boys were just beginning to load their stuff in. The place was still full of families out for a Saturday night slap-up meal, little ol' ladies having to duck to avoid being whacked over the head with a Marshall head (that's an amplifier to the non musos).

We didn't need to do soundchecks and stuff so we just settled down to some beers with some mates. The clock struck ten thirty and it was time to tune up, get up and rock.

We were fucking great too, every song was sounding wicked, even when my guitar tuning went a bit experimental. The stage of the Northern Star on 15th March 2003 was a very nice place to be. The crowd were really into it too, so big cheers for us!

I missed the first few songs of Muzzy Pep as I was busy being congratulated on our show. But I had to get up there and watch 'em. They didn't let me down, playing songs from the new album and some golden oldies too with a great and happy energy. This is Muzzy Pep's home gig and the crowd went wild.

What a great night out that was!

After we got gently kicked out of the venue we headed up into the countryside to stay at Scot Muzzy's farmhouse. The drinking and frollicking continued into the night. I went to bed eventually and fell asleep to a Sex Pistols lullaby.

Goodnight Mr Rotten - Goodnight Mr Bat!

xxx



2003-03-19, Gold Coast - The Rose & Crown

We had a few days rest, one in the beautiful countryside near Newcastle where we staed an extra day with Scot from Muzzy Pep (cheers mate).The other day we flew to the Gold Coast and then hired a car to go and visit the lovely Nikki in Byrons Bay. I got a little burnt. Ouch!

Surfer's Paradise is not my favourite place in Australia, buit I'm sure that I went into all that last year. The Rose & Crown isn't as ols styleeas you might imagibe from the name. In fact it seems like it was added at a whim into the shoppping centre. Having said that, once you are inside it is a pretty nice venue, well equipt and gig like.

The guys from Dollar Bar were first to go on tonight and despite having a rather tipsy guitarist in Dale, they stormed through their set, fighting against the rather indifferent sound. They did a fine job and get better with every gig.

Next on were a band called Time, I'd not seen them before, but they seemed to have brought along the majority of the audience so I was keen to hear them. They went down really well with the audience but weren't really my cup of tea. All great musicians but they were a bit too bogged down in eighties rock for my liking (I'm not a big fan of eighties rock:-)).And of course they overun their set by 20 minutes ;-)

So next it was us. Unfortunately, when Time left the stage, so did a fair chunk of the audience, but undeterbed we played a very good set and I we definitely made a few conversion to the Abdou cause.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say, we got our new shirts delivered and they are well cool. They say LESS WAR, MORE ROCK! and are already selling really well of course.

All in all, a better experience than the last gold Coast gig.



2003-03-20, Brisbane - Zoo

And so we return to the lovely Brisbane and to all of our lovely friends.The big news today, of course is that Georgie Bush has completely ignored our t-shirts and has started the War against the almost defenseless Iraq. I'm just glad that so many people are out there protesting. Anyway, as they say, the show must go on...Doh!

I've always wanted to play the Zoo, it's a very cool venue, if not as tad large for an Abdou gig. Tonight is probably not the night to play a gig about three times larger than we have ever played before in Brisbane, but hey we weren't to know that today would be such a historical landmark in World stupidity.

We missed the first band The Habits, which is a shame as everyone who was there said they were great. Dollar Bar were fab, better again, such a good band. They are getting airplay on Triple J too at the moment, so at last the rest of Oz can get to hear just how good they are.

Next up were one of Danny Abdou's favourite bands of all time. Bud! They are a legend in Brisbane apparently and were bloody loud and raucous, so loud I couldn't here the singing very well, but the noise coming of that stage was solid and magnificent. I'm usually a big fan of hard core stuff, but this was class.

Abdou were up next and we had a great gig despite the very small crowd. They made loads of appreciative noise though, we felt very loved.

Cheers for everyone that came to the gig, see you tomorrow at the Rotunda.

FB xxx



2003-03-21, Brisbane - Rotunda Brunswick St Mall

This is a strange one.We are gonna be playing in a shopping mall in an open-air type gig whilst shoppers, diners and general passers by er...pass by. It's a strange cross between playing Glastonbury and busking in Croydon (UK). We are expected to play three sets of a half hour duration each and what's more it all has to be acoustic!

We borrowed a few guitars from Mirko and Markie (thanks geezers).Mirko used his snare case as a kik drum which sounded well cool.

The first set we did quietened down versions of Abdou songs, which sounded pretty good really. The second set ventured into Uncle Fruity territory which was good fun. We mananged to get a good reaction from some of the passers by and we had our own little crowd of friends and family to cheer us on. The third set was more of a character building affair, we had to repeat some of the songs and by that time we were also a little worse for wear booze-wise so the songs got a little loose in places.

I actually enjoyed the whole thing though and it was a marvellous practice for tomorrow's gig at Ric's, which is also to be an acoustic one.

After the gig we went to Ric's for a few beers and then headed off to The Healer to catch a few bands and sink more Coopers. It was fun, but then we got hungry and headed for china town and some noodly delights. We fully intended to return to the gig but were way too knackered and had to head home, so we missed The Giants Of Scienece. Bah!



2003-03-22, Brisbane - Cheeseboard @ Rics

Poor Mirko had to work today poor sod. Danny had his wallet stolen overnight from the kitchen of where we were staying which was a big pain and not a little bizarre as we were all asleep in the room next door when it happened. So the day started with a bit of a downer, what with that and the continuing news about the bombings in Iraq.

We were determined to overcome the bad mojo and after we met up at Ric's with the gear, we had a group hug and I did a special little dance to give us good luck and vibes.

Something must have worked as the two sets we played that afternoon were bloody great. We had a lovely crowd to egg us on, cheering and laughing at the appropriate moments. We even pulled a bizarre version of Baby Food out of the hat along with Rich's great rendition of Ever Fallen In Love (buzzcocks song).

We felt very good after that. The sound guy asked us if we would play every saturday afternoon. I said of course we could, all he had to do was to arrange Oz naturalisation for me and Rich. He said he'd see he could pull some strings ;-)

We had an Indian takeaway back at Mirko's before heading of to a party...



2003-03-28, Adelaide - Enigma Bar

From the radio station we drove straight to the venue for the second gig of the day. Loaded in the gear meeting up with the guys from the Gels and King Daddy. Then we went out to a nearby Thai place and had a lovely huge meal. After that I felt like I needed a kip, but that wasn't to be as almost as soon as we got back into the venue The Gels started up their amazing sonic attack. They were great! Powerful, fun and a little drunk. I got their new CD and can't wait to play it on my radio show. Next up were King Daddy who played a set of new songs all of which were fantastic. The band gets better every time I see them, Nass, the singer is such a great front man and all of the players are tight as hell.

Both bands were going to be hard to follow, but Abdou were up for a good one now we actually have an audience to play to. We pulled out all the stops, changes in lyrics, rock n roll posturing, big rock endings, Buzzcocks song and I got both Rich Gohl and Pange (both Oz Abdou'ers) up on stage to help out with the final encore version of the Abdou Theme.

Deffo in the top three gigs of the tour so far.

After the gig we went out boozing and ended up in a big house in the country playing ping pong (thanks for the hospitality Amy). We finally got home at 7:30, golly that was very rock n roll of us!

Sorry about the bad grammar and spelling, this is 'stream of consciousness' stuff.

On to tomorrow!



2003-03-28, Adelaide - Flinders Uni (4pm)

Uni gigs are well know amongst band in Oz as 'bankers' due to fact that they actually pay decent money. The down side to all of this is that they don't get promoted and consequently no one goes. A total of sixpeople watched the entire Abdou set and that included Jen, Danny's girlfriend and the soundman Tom! We played pretty well though and it sounded great. Had a few beers after the show and then headed over to 3D Radio to do some chatting and give tonight's gig at Enigma Bar a push.



2003-03-29, Adelaide - Exeter Hotel

Woke up at 2pm feeling remarkably OK considering last night's excesses. Rich went to visit some (almost) rellies, don't know how he managed to get up but he was away for 10am!

Had a cruisey day taking in a visit to a ceramics studio, where one of our hosts, Marie, performs wonders with clay and kilns. There was some great stuff there, real class.

Went into town a bit later to pick up the other guys and took the stuff to the venue for load-in. After setting up the stuff Rich and I went to get some food.

Only two bands on tonight, firstly the brilliant Bleeding Hearts who suffered a little with the sound of the room but were still great.

The Exeter is another one of those 'do it yourself' venues, you have to set up the PA and stuff yourself. It's also one of those gigs where the band seems to be an inconvenience to the punters, who are just there for a quiet night out with their mate and don't really want a rock n roll band disturbing the local gossip etc. I decided that we should play fairly quiet and concentrate on the lighter songs in an effort to be entertaining background music.

It seemed to work as we didn't clear the entire room out and everyone was appreciative (I think).

Another interesting one. My favourite point was when we blew the3 electricity during Aren't We All, right on the line "I don't wanna play rock n rooooooll". We broke the pub!

After the gig we had a few beers, then we all went back home apart from Rich who went out to challenge all -comers to pool and didn't have to buy a beer all night!



2003-04-04, Perth - The Swan Basement

After dinner at a local Chinese place, we went on over to the Swan and it's famous basement. As we entered tyhe venue Local Pricks were already onstage thrashing out there lovely brand of energetic punk / pop noiseyness. They were top, loved it to bits.

Next on were The Nordeens who had a great line in anthemic and uplifting choruses. The singer has a great voice and the songs were exellent. I'm hoping to get Cds off both bands so I can play you some stuff on my radio show when I get back to Blighty.

We were all pretty pissed by the time we had to play, but Danny was especially getrunken and was very amusing. Miraculously the influence we were under served to propell us to new heights of greatness and we played a great set, if slightly shambolic. The crowd were great too, cheering us on at every turn.

Had a brilliant time, I definitely like this place Perth.



2003-04-04, Perth - Uni Of WA (4pm)

Had a lovely flight to Perth taking Danny further away from home than he has ever been before. So what was this gonna be like. will the citizen of Perth take Abdou into their hearts or will we be sent back East with our tails between our legs. First off we have an afternoon Uni gig and after the gig in Adelaide Uni I must admit, I was a little worried about how it would go. i needn't have worried though, we were met by Chris and Alex who were the perfect hosts, Alex presenting us with a couple of jugs of beer.

There was already a band on when we arrived and we stopped to have a listen to ??? who were great, even pulling out a groovy version of Bankrobber which always goes down well with me.

It wasn't long before it was our turn to lug our stuff on stage and begin singing for our supper. We had a great gig and nearly all of the crowd stayed to watch us, not like the miserable gits in Adelaide. So far, I think that Perth rocks! Now onto the next one.



2003-04-05, Perth - The Rosemount

The next day Rich and I went over to Cottesloe beach to meet up with Rich's dad Richard and his friend er.. Richard for a bit of a paddle. The sea was beautifully warm, but it was a little too strong on the rip side so I decided that I wouldn't risk swimming. Rich and his dad went out though they can swim properly ;-) I had a walk along the beach and pier thingy dicovering that there were loads of semi-naked beautiful women everywhere and very charming they looked too.

Later on after loading our gear into the Rosemount we went off for a meal which meant that we missed the first two bands playing. Rich's senior was there early and has offered his 'review'. First band Brainhorn - interesting mix of styles, very young. Second band ???, more punky, energetic, singer kept jumping up and down a lot, very young.

The third was Local Prick who supported the previous night, we had to be there to see them again. They played a great set, it was good to hear the songs again, I remembered quite a few, which is always a good sign. They are a bunch of nutters, where does all that energy come from? I have their CD now, so I can play you some when I get back to Blighty.

We had a top gig too and also, according to Rich snr, had the best sound that he's heard for the whole tour, so we have to thank Mr soundman for that.

Had a bit of heckling, which I completely took the wrong way. When they were shouting out 'play something we know' they were asking for CARTER songs. I thought they wanted Cold Chisel or Dire Straits and took offence. I ended up calling one of the girl a ' stupid fuckin bitch' and I do apologise profusely for that. We wouldn't have played Carter stuff anyway, coz, well we just don't.

I think we sorted everything out after the gig though, so my conscience is almost clear.

We went out and partied at a club called Amplifier, which was a very drunken and silly night.

I can remember Mirko (the sober one) driving us home, that's about it ;-)

The next day we were all worse for wear. Somewhere in the process of partying we had lost Danny, which meant that playing the promised Peaceniks In The Park gig was unfortunately impossible and once again I apologise for that.



2003-04-10, Melbourne - The Tote

Wow, it went so fast. This is the last gig of the tour, gig #14 and a welcome return to one of Melbourne's legendary venues The Tote.

Memories of this gig are a little vague as I am writing this sitting on my sofa back in leafy Brixton. But I will try and get things in the right order. We turned up earlyish as Mark, our wonderful Melbourne soundguy wanted to do a soundcheck, something that we don't usually bother with.

The doors opened with a steady stream of familiar faces all stopping to say hello on their way to the bar and offering to buy us all drinks. We accepted with pleasure and began to ride that wobbly wooden rollercoaster to drunken ineptitude ;-)

First on were Seconds, a band featuring last years' Abdou drummer Iain on Bass along with a bunch of Melbourne mates. Seconds were dead good, great songs and melodies played with a healthy disregard for anything bland or boring. Well done boys!

Next on were Bidston Moss who we have played with a few other times and who get even better every time I see them. One again brilliant songs and superb playing making them one of the best bands around.

Then it was time for the drunken out-of-tune Abdou to get it on down. We were terribly chaotic and yes, very out of tune, but everyone seemed to appreciate that it was our last night of the tour and encouraged us in our drunken stupidity. Richie even had them up and dancing for his rendition of Ever Fallen In Love.

Well it was a great tour, the band and crowds being better than ever. We went into Toyland studio that weekend and recorded five tracks for release this late Spring early UK Summer and so far they sound brilliant and I haven't even mixed them yet.

The last week of our stay in Oz involved catching up with more friends and generally geting some late shopping done. We had an amazing time this year and I am already planning Ox 2004 ;-) Thanks to everyone who put us up, came to the gigs and generally helped us have the best tour yet. Special thanks to Danny and Mirko who are lovely blokes and without whom Abdou would have been a duo!

By for now.

Fruity xxx